The OSCARS Recognition of Excellence: Catherine Katsambanis
Updated: May 2
We are thrilled to introduce Catherine Katsambanis from Fronditha Care in Clayton, recipient of The OSCARS Recognition of Excellence program.
OSCAR Care Group recognises Catherine as a loyal & talented Chef, with a great jovial attitude, who works hard with her trusted team to create nutritious & culturally-sensitive meals for residents.
Cooking skills run in the family
Catherine’s passion for Greek cuisine started with her intrigue at age 6, watching her mother cooking. Her dad made her a stool so that she could watch and reach the bench! As a child, she learned to work hard by helping at her parent’s Fish & Chips shop.
Catherine’s husband Con is also a chef, at popular Lamb on Chapel restaurant. Their daughter Tia also enjoys cooking, so may follow in her parents’ footsteps!
After completing a Diploma in Marketing, Catherine worked for Australia Post for 12 years. Seeking a career change, she decided to follow her culinary skills to a role cooking at Fronditha Care Clayton. For eighteen years, Catherine has cooked for her much-loved residents, and is now completing her Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery.
Leading the Dedicated Team with great Communication!
Catherine talks about the Team of 10 kitchen staff that she leads at Fronditha Care Clayton with delight. Her jovial manner, enthusiasm and excellent communication skills inspire her dedicated team. “We all work really well together. My colleagues are true friends, like Danae who started here with me 18 years ago, and Joanne who recently retired.”
One of her fantastic career accomplishments is the establishment of Slack, an App Catherine created to improve Communication. All her team downloaded it onto their phones, and now she can share important work-related information like training and shift changes easily throughout the day. They all respond back, so she knows they have been briefed.
Excellence through Education, Training & Hard Work
Catherine believes that everyone should strive to improve through Education & Training. While working fulltime, she is studying hard for her Certificate IV in commercial cookery on a part time basis. She and her team also undertake annual food safety refresher training with OSCAR Care Group.
A typical day for Catherine means starting work at 6:30am. She and her team prepare all meals for residents. They always ask for feedback & special requests. After finishing at 2:30pm Catherine does the school run & later works on her studies. Amazing!
Catherine says “I love cooking every day to please our lovely elderly Residents, who like to request their favourite meals. Getting to know them and their families so well, they feel like my own grandparents.”
She acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed extra importance on safety & personal hygiene. Due to lockdowns, she has managed staff shortages, extra cleaning and staff training in PPE.
Catherine is also very aware of different resident dietary requirements, including those with Dysphagia. These residents receive the same cultural meals, but they are prepared to IDDSI requirements. Catherine and her team have been trained on IDDSI standards.
Fronditha Care Clayton’s Support Services Coordinator, Vivi Michailidou, says “Catherine brings the aroma, taste & presentation of traditional Greek home cooked meals to life. Fronditha Clayton is truly proud of Catherine and of her team’s efforts over the years to maintain such high standards.”
Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert of custard pie in a crispy phyllo pastry shell, served with syrup. It’s delicious!
6 egg yolks
500g soft unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup semolina
1.5 litres milk
1 tbls vanilla sugar
1 packet file pastry
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups water
3 slices lemon
For the syrup, combine the sugar, water & lemon in a pot, place over heat & bring to the boil. Stir & set aside to cool.
In a pot put the 1 litre milk on heat and bring to boil.
In another pot combine the sugar, semolina, eggs & vanilla sugar and remaining 1/ 2 milk whisking together until smooth texture.
Pour the boiled milk into the mixture and whisk until it thickens.
Remove from heat and add half of the melted butter, whisking until it’s all completely incorporated with the Custard.
Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced.
Start assembling the pie by spreading a sheet of filo into a pan and drizzle butter.
Repeat the same process with the next 6 filo sheets.
Spread the Custard mixture on top of the prepared filo sheets in pan and turn in the filo sheets that may be hanging over the edges. Drizzle with butter.
Add another 6 filo sheets on top, drizzling each sheet with butter, sealing inwards any filo sheets that are hanging over the pan.
Score the top of the pie into 12- 15 pieces and cut.
Bake for 1.5 hours until golden brown and crunchy.
When ready, remove from oven and immediately pour the cold syrup over the top. ENJOY!!!!!